Selection decisions among reindeer herders in Finland
AbstractSelection of breeding animals is a tool to improve the revenues in animal production. Information about selection practices and criteria are essential in assessing the possibilities for systematic selection schemes. Attitudes of reindeer herders towards use of selection in improving production were investigated by means of interviews. We interviewed the managers of reindeer herding cooperatives concerning their selection decisions. Fortyfive out of 56 managers answered to the semi-structured questionnaire. Among herding operations, selection of breeding animals was regarded by managers as critical for calf’s autumn weight and survival. The main selection criteria were calf’s health, vigour, body size and muscularity, dam or dam line, and maternal care. Hair quality and hair length were important as well, while such often quoted traits as antler characteristics, e.g. early shedding of antler velvet and thick antler bases, were unimportant. The results show that reindeer herders i) acknowledge the importance and effects of selective breeding, and ii) have empirical knowledge to list the most important selection criteria.
Authors retain copyright and grant Rangifer irrevocable and non-exclusive right of publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY). This means, among other things, that anyone is free to copy and distribute the content, as long as they give proper credit to the author(s) and the journal. For further information, see Creative Commons website for human readable or lawyer readable versions.